Why I Hospital Birth

I’ve known several people, in real life and via the internet, who have given birth to their children at home.  I totally support their right and decision to do so.  I know that it is totally safe, if not safer than hospital birth, in most cases.  However, I still prefer to give birth at a hospital.

One of the reasons that I choose the hospital is because at the hospital I actually feel less pressure to take care of other people and I can focus more on my own needs.  I know that if I were laboring at home long-term every sound from downstairs would have me jumping up to see if I needed to intervene or help with something.

Secondly, those 48 hours that I spend in the hospital after delivery is a special time that I just get to focus on my new baby.  Yes, my husband brings the kids, my mother-in-law, and my parents to visit us each day for an hour or so, but the rest of that time is me and my baby getting to know each other pretty much by ourselves.

Once I get home there are other kids who need/want my attention.  My parents are there to help out, but they are also there to visit from out-of-state.  Meals for everyone have to be determined and ordered.  Stairs have to be climbed to get to bed.  The hospital actually allows me a little peace before I feel pressured to get back into normal life; not that I don’t wish that the hospital had thicker walls and provided more snack options than stale graham crackers.

I wish that I would have given consideration to home birth with my first child.  My first birth experience was not the best.  A midwife at my home probably would not have broken the water bag during a normally progressing labor.  I probably would not have had access to demerol.  I probably would not have had a routine episiotomy.  I probably would not have had to labor in a crappy position with people screaming directions at me.

Even though I was educated about how it would be best for me and my baby to avoid all these things before I had my first child, I was not confident enough to stand up to my doctor.  My doctor was a very nice person, and I do not believe that she meant me any harm.  But she also was very set in her ways, even though it was obvious just from my prenatal check-ups that her ways were not the best.  But again I was not confident enough to walk away from her voluntarily, especially since I had already switched providers once during that pregnancy due to insurance issues.

Which makes me think that the most important plus of home birthing is not the location itself, but the type of person who is likely to assist you with birthing at home.  They are probably less likely to try to intimidate you or scare you.  They are more likely to know their limits and respect your boundaries.  It may be harder for them to get set in their ways because they regularly practice multiple ways of helping women birth their babies.

After the birth of my first child, we moved to a different state.  I was lucky to come across an all-female OB/GYN practice near my house.  I could tell right away that they were better organized.  And when I became pregnant with my second child, my regular doctor immediately recommended that I consider using the two Certified Nurse Midwives in the office.  Each one has since caught a baby for me, and my birthing experiences have been revolutionary compared to that first one (somewhere I even have pictures to prove it).  That’s why I continue to give birth at their hospital 40 minutes away even though there is a new hospital five minutes from my house.

Plus, I learned a lot from my first birthing experience.  I have analyzed everything that was wrong about it a million times.  And I’m very lucky that I avoided an unnecessary c-section or a necessary c-section due to the use of unnecessary practitioner interventions.  At this point, I understand intuitively (rather than just intellectually) how my body works and am unafraid to stand up for what I feel is truly best for me and my unborn baby.

Some home-birthers may think that I’m the “brave” one for continuing to go to the hospital to give birth.  (Or they may secretly think I’m just plain dumb for doing so when I know I don’t have to.)  But I really think the birthing location is less important for a good birthing experience than being well-informed, well-supported by a good health care provider, and confident enough to trust your body and your intuition.

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